Easy Italian Chicken and Caesar Soup? - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Easy Italian Chicken and Caesar Soup?

Wow, this is just like riding a bike.  I know I fell out of the writing habit for while, a consequence of packing up everything you own and moving to a new place.  With all my recipes taped up in a box, it’s been hard to come up with something to share.  While I spent a lot of time thawing leftovers, not only to make room in a packed freezer, but also because there just wasn’t energy left after a long day of packing, painting, or organizing.

Speaking of unpacking, this led to my first offering this week.  While loading the new pantry, I pulled out a container I didn’t recognize.  It looked like it was supposed to be there, but I couldn’t remember ever using it for anything I’ve cooked.  I held it up to the light, then turned to my husband and asked what he thought it was.  We finally determined it was Italian-seasoned breading, and with a shrug I put it back on the shelf, noting to use it soon.  So the next night for dinner I thawed some chicken, and decided I was going to “oven-fry” some Italian chicken.  As I preheated the oven and got my veggies started, I realized there would be no egg wash for this dish, but I remembered there’s a recipe out there somewhere that substitutes mayo.  God forgive me, but that made some of the most tender, juicy chicken I have ever baked.

Easy Italian Chicken

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

    Italian Chicken

    Like shake and bake, but better.

  • 1/2 C bread crumbs
  • 1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasonings of choice (or 1/4 tsp. oregano, 1/2 tsp. basil, 1/4 tsp. parsley flakes)
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 C mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together Italian seasonings, crushed red pepper, Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs together.  In a separate bowl, stir together butter and mayo.  Dredge chicken in mayonnaise mixture, then in bread crumbs, setting in a baking dish.

Bake for 30 minutes.

My second offering was on one of my wild soup kicks.  I love a big bowl  of soup.  It’s warm, cozy, sometimes familiar and happy, other times new and exciting.  This is a new and exciting one for me.  I love Caesar salads. I love soup, and this blew my mind.  This is Chicken Caesar Soup.  (I know I normally do one meal that is meatless, but the chicken can be very easily left out here.)  I don’t have any other words, it just blew my dome – and it was a great reason to use my stick blender, which happens to be one of my favorite wedding gifts.   With no further ado, I give you the recipe.

Chicken Caesar Soup

It’s a salad, as a soup! It’s the best of both worlds!

Chicken Caesar Soup (from Food Network Magazine)

For the soup:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 large piece parmesan cheese rind
  • 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

For the croutons:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 baguette
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions
Make the soup: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, 3 cups water, the potato and the parmesan rind. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate using tongs and let cool.

Meanwhile, make the croutons: Combine the mayonnaise, grated parmesan, lemon juice, anchovies, hot sauce, garlic, a few grinds of pepper and 1 tablespoon water in a blender or food processor; puree until smooth.

Cut the baguette in half lengthwise, then slice into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Arrange on a baking sheet and brush with the mayonnaise mixture, reserving 2 tablespoons for topping. Sprinkle with the parsley, lemon zest and more parmesan; bake until golden, about 10 minutes.

Add the lettuce and heavy cream to the pot and cook until the lettuce is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Discard the parmesan rind. Transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Shred the chicken and add it to the soup; heat through over medium heat. Divide among bowls, drizzle with the reserved mayonnaise mixture and top with the croutons and more pepper.

Tip of the week: Not sure what to do with the carcass of a whole-roasted chicken.  throw it in a pot with enough water to cover it, and boil all the good stuff of the bones.  Discard the bones, and keep some amazing chicken stock.


About the author

Sally Michaelis

Sally is a wife and domestic diva in Maryland. She approaches life with gusto, humor, and a passion that is unmatched. She is a classic woman, with a modern twist and is the kind of woman who will throw back a beer and watch Star Trek with her husband, and entertain the church croquette group with homemade cheese cake. Sally offers something for everyone, and is always experimenting and cooking up a storm in her kitchen. Contact the author.
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